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The DL - Madrona's Investment Themes, Seattle's Newest Unicorn, the First $2T Company, and COVID Predictions from the Superforecasters

July 20 · Issue #57 · View online
The DL
Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.
This week’s issue covers Madrona’s 2020 investment themes, the PNW’s newest unicorn, survey results on the first $2T company, and when superforecasters say COVID will be over.
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Madrona's Investment Themes
Over the next few weeks, Madrona is publishing our 2020 investment themes. We expect to see significant growth in these areas over the next five to ten years and are searching for new investment opportunities.
Here’s a summary of all the themes we will be exploring, and here are links to the articles we have published so far:
  • The Future of Work - Software is changing because of changes in the workplace, the workforce, and the nature of work
  • Low Code Platforms - A new generation of “makers” are helping companies move faster by building software with low code tools
  • Next Gen Infrastructure - Companies are building new developer experiences for cloud-first architectures and ML-driven applications
LMK what you think of these investment themes (and of course if you’re starting a company in any of these categories 😊).
+1 to the PNW Unicorn Tracker 🦄
The PNW got its newest unicorn last week, as Qumulo raised a $125M Series E at a $1.2B valuation! This is the 37th startup (according to The DL’s unicorn tracker) to reach a $1B+ valuation in the PNW.
Bill Richter, the CEO of Qumulo, wrote a LinkedIn post on what Qumulo does and how they have been able to succeed and grow despite the COVID pandemic. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Qumulo helps customers manage file-based data in multi-cloud environments
  • Qumulo manages 150B+ files, and the average Qumulo customer generates more than a petabyte of data (that’s 13 years of HD movies)
  • Historically, customers managed file data with proprietary hardware, but Qumulo’s software allows them to build and manage their file data-intensive apps in both their own data centers and the public cloud
  • Qumulo’s customers include IMHE, Shell, Hyundai, Capsilon, Progenity, Vexcel and Cinesite
  • BlackRock led this funding round, with participation from Madrona, Highland, Kleiner Perkins, and Amity Ventures
Congrats to the team at Qumulo!
Survey says... long $AMZN!
Last week, I pointed out that the tech stocks are hitting all-time highs and asked you to predict which one would hit a $2T and $10T market cap first.
Most respondents answered Amazon or Microsoft for both questions. Here are some of the reader explanations for why. Not surprisingly, they align pretty well with what The Economist is saying about Seattle as well:
  • Amazon: Multiple revenue lines in a variety of verticals
  • Amazon: Circumstances stemming from COVID
  • Amazon: Because I work there now. (DL note: nice 😎)
  • Microsoft: Cloud + disruption of retail
  • Microsoft: They are more diversified than AMZN, FB, GOOGL
The last question I asked is whether we will see a $100T company in the next 50 years. Most people said no, but interesting to think that 8.8% annual growth means a $1.6T company will be worth $100T+ in 50 years!
Other stuff Dan's talking about
🤓 Superforecasters on COVID - Here are predictions on COVID from the elite group of “superforecasters” (people who make better predictions than experts). Make sure to click “analysis” to see their commentary as well
📖 New Eden - Haven’t recommended a book on here in a while, but I really enjoyed this sci-fi book about first contact with extraterrestrial life. It’s a super interesting premise and story, so please read, so we can discuss!
💰 How to sell a SaaS company - Reddit post on the process to sell a $1M ARR SaaS company. Here’s a separate blog post with more info on the company, too (it’s a marketing tool for Shopify)
📽️ Top 10 - Last week Netflix released earnings, announced a new co-CEO, and put together a list of their 10 most popular movies. Also, if you’re looking for a new reality show, Sarah and I love Indian Matchmaking!
Please hit reply! (Or subscribe or forward!)
About me: I work as an investor at Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based venture capital firm that has been early partners with companies like Amazon, Smartsheet, Apptio, and Redfin.
If you have thoughts, questions, or comments, hit reply! If you’re new, check out some of the DL’s top articles from the last few months:
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